Monday February 13, 2012-University of North Florida-Jacksonville, Florida: Beautiful day for preaching as far as weather goes. Arriving on campus and walking towards the free speech area around 1:00 PM I noticed students were gathered on the lawn. As I got closer I realized another preacher was there already preaching.
Soon I figured out the preacher was Tom Short. He has been preaching for many years on campus but has more of an apologetical/intellectual approach than we do. He had a pretty good sized crowd for this campus (50-70) but many in the crowd are from the campus group that sponsors Tom. They come out and pose as a crowd to draw in more listeners. A crowd draws a crowd. They also ask predetermined questions.
I knew Tom would not let me preach with him so I just sat and listened. Of course, I agree with many of the things he preaches but he says other things that make me cringe. At one point he told the students he was a sinner.
I thought it would have been unethical to go and preach in another spot since Tom had already begun preaching and had a crowd. It would also give the appearance I did not agree with Tom’s main message. The students would use this to bring division, confusion and excuses.
Some of the students recognized me and came over to talk to me. I had several very good conversations. One conversation was with a professing Christian on the biblical method of preaching. The other was a philosophical discussion with a student on the free will of man and the sovereignty of God.
At 3:00 PM we left the campus to run some errands.
Tuesday February 14, 2012-University of Florida-Gainesville, Florida: Tom Short was supposed to be on campus again today at the University of North Florida so we made the over one hour ride down to Gainesville.
I never try to preach on this campus before 1:30 PM for several reasons. 1) It is a later campus 2) Between 12 and 1:30 PM they usually have all kinds of loud activities going on in the free speech area 3) From 12 to 1:30 PM the bells seem to ring constantly (I call them Hell’s Bells).
I began preaching in the Turlington Plaza around 2:10 PM. In a few minutes a few stopped to listen. The crowd grew to around 100 fairly quickly. Gradually the crowd dropped down to around 25-60 and remained that way for the rest of the afternoon.
There was a slight drizzle at one point and some of the crowd left but then more returned.
GREAT DAY OF TEACHING
It was a great day of teaching. The crowd listened well most of the time. Of course they did not like or agree with the message and I was interrupted throughout the afternoon by hecklers. I was able to effectively and clearly destroy two of the sin defenders favorite strongholds for excusing sin-Romans 7 and 1 John 1:8. I systematically went through these passages and left them no excuse for sin. I was also able to effectively and clearly explain why every human being is without excuse before God (Acts 10:34-35, Acts 17:27, Romans 1:20, Romans 2:15). I clearly covered how the fear of the Lord was necessary to salvation, knowing God (Proverbs 1:7), departing from sin (Proverbs 16:6, Proverbs 14:27), hating sin (Proverbs 8:13) and the beginning of the fear of God is realizing we deserve for a holy God to send us to hell for our sin (Matthew 10:28). Until a person acknowledges this he cannot be saved.
DESTROYING THE SINNERS REFUGE OF LIES
A civil homosexual tried to make excuses for his sin by claiming he was born that way. I was able to clearly and effectively refute his refuge of lies (Isaiah 28:17) by explaining to the crowd lust is an issue of the heart (Mark 7:20-21) and Jesus can give us a new heart. Homosexuality is condemned by God (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) and the first step to becoming a homosexual is denying the truth about God (Romans 1:18). I told the crowd we are commanded by God to deny self and follow Jesus (Luke 9:23). I compared the disadvantages of being a homosexual to the disadvantages of those who are on crack or alcoholics or obese. They chose to be on crack, be an alcoholic or be a homosexual even though there are so many disadvantages. I also pointed out the student had committed many prior sins before becoming a homosexual. This student is now so deep he needs supernatural deliverance but must first admit it is sin and he deserves hell. Then God can deliver him.
I clearly expounded on the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver from the power of all sin (Matthew 1:21, John 1:29, Acts 3:26, Galatians 1:4, Titus 2:14).
I continued preaching until 5:30 PM and the 3 hours and twenty minutes seemed to fly by. A great day of teaching the Word of God.
Thursday February 16, 2012-University of North Florida-Jacksonville, Florida: It was overcast and drizzling when we arrived on campus. I began preaching about 12:15 PM and there was a slight drizzle.
I slowly gathered a small group of listeners that continued to grow to a nice attentive group of 30-40. They listened well for some time as I preached and answered questions and the crowd continued growing to around 120-130. It stayed near 100 for most of the afternoon.
CONVICTED SINNERS TRYING TO DISRUPT PREACHING
Throughout the afternoon as the Word of God went forth and cut sinners to the heart the crowd size increased and so did the opposition and hostility. They showed their desperation to try to excuse their sin by coming up with all sorts of ways to sabotage the meeting and distract from the preaching.
PROFESSING CHRISTIANS LAUGH AT SIN BUT FIGHT PREACHING AGAINST SIN
Professing Christians cursed, laughed at lesbians kissing, exposing themselves, etc. A guy showed up in a wrestling stinglet and bearded yellow ski mask followed me around for some time. Later his friend showed up and they began wrestling each other behind me while I preached.
I was still able to maintain crowd control and preach and answer questions effectively. Two different guys in whole body spandex outfits (one black and one purple) showed up and danced around me while I preached. The one in purple was touting a sign that said “God does not exist”.
RESISTING THE TRUTH IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS
As the crowd continued to become more hostile and disruptive it became more and more difficult to preach. Around 2:45 PM I just preached to them and warned them the wrath of God abides on them (John 3:36), they are resisting the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18), are deceiving themselves because they do not love the truth but have pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12), and reject the words of Jesus because He spoke the truth (John 8:45).
At 3:00 PM I stopped preaching to the rowdy crowd of about 120-130 and went and sat on a bench. The crowd predictably followed me and surrounded me. They began firing all kinds of accusations, questions, threats and gave me no chance to respond.
I tried to answer questions in a civil manner but at this point they were so desperate and convicted it seemed impossible. Soon I was standing on the bench and answering objections by trying to preach over them.
POLICE CALLED IN
About four police officers showed up. They always do a great job on this campus. They asked the crowd and myself to move back on the green. I continued to try to answer questions until 4:00 PM but they were as angry as wild animals. We left around 4:00 PM.
HANDWRITING ON THE WALL FOR AMERICA
Some foreign students (a couple) from the former USSR were crying and told my wife the students were behaving the same way people behave in the former USSR before Christianity was outlawed. The wife was crying and reminded of her childhood Russians hating God, Communist and Socialist.
I believed it was a very effective day of preaching and breaking up fallow ground. Look forward to returning next week.